Have a gander at most people's bucket list and somewhere on there you're likely to find the words 'see the Northern Lights'. And for good reason, this is nature at its rawest and most spectacular; ethereal streams of green, blue, pink and yellow light pierce, swirl and dance across the night sky. But, at the risk of bursting the bucket list bubble, as a natural phenomenon, the good ol' Aurora Borealis are never guaranteed. So if you are planning a Northern Lights adventure, it's best to bring in the professionals (hint: that's us) to make sure you head to a destination with not only a proven track record for sightings, but somewhere with plenty of bucket-list worthy experiences and hotels should the Northern Lights decide not to play ball…
There's quirky and then there's Iceland, a place where the majority of people believe elves exist, nudity is popular, nay, required in some parts and raw puffin heart is considered a delicacy. Crikey. And it isn't lacking on the activity front either, with everything from heli-skiing and glacier climbing to snowmobiling and descending into volcanoes. Oh, and it's also possible to see the Northern Lights from as early as September. Where do we sign up?
Lofoten Islands, Norway
Think Norway, think Fjords, right? Wrong! There's no denying that the Fjords are pretty spectacular but the Lofoten Islands in the north-west of the country feature equally jaw-dropping scenery without the crowds. The Northern Lights can, similarly to Iceland, be seen from late summer when you can also take advantage of activities like trekking amongst the archipelago's jagged peaks and sea kayaking with sperm whales, while staying in a traditional wooden hut called a rorbuer.
The ultimate winter wonderland, Swedish Lapland has long been one of our favourite places for spotting the Northern Lights. Stay in some of the world's most unique hotels, like the Ice Hotel, the Treehotel or Aurora Safari Camp and inject some adventure with dog-sledding, ice-driving and snow-shoeing. Go between December and March for the best chance of spotting the lights.
Back to Norway and the islands of Svalbard this time where you'll find polar bears in abundance (almost equal to the number of humans, in fact), epic glacial scenery, endless wilderness and midnight sun during the summer months. Mid-February is the best time to be there if you want to combine the possibility of seeing the Northern Lights with some exploration, as the islands come out of their state of perpetual darkness and get some light during the day.
If you're interested in a Northern Lights adventure, get in touch with our Europe specialists.